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The Seventy Disciples Sent Forth
Summary —The Harvest Ready but the Laborers Few. Seventy Preachers Chosen. The Charge. The Warning to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. The Return of the Seventy. The Lawyer's Question. Who Is My Neighbor?. The Parable of the Good Samaritan. Martha and Mary.
1. After these things. All that we can be certain of as to the time when the seventy were appointed is that it was after the events Luke has already related. There are reasons for thinking that it was near the close of our Lord's ministry. It
is usually located in the country east of the Jordan, when the Lord began his last journey to Jerusalem. Appointed seventy others. He had already sent forth the apostles (Luke 9:1), and he now sent forth seventy preachers more. That he could find seventy fitted for this mission shows that his teaching
was making a deep impression on the Galileans. Sent them two and two. That each one might have a helper, a counsellor and a
sympathizer. Into every city and place. As the time of his earthly ministry shortened, it increased in earnestness and activity. The Lord in person visited as many places as possible, and these messengers were sent before to preach to the people and to prepare the way.
2. The harvest truly is great. See notes on Matt. 9:37, where the same language is used, not on the same, but a similar occasion.
3–12. Go your ways. The instructions to the seventy are in substance the same as those given to the twelve in Matthew, chapter 10. See notes on there. Matthew is fuller. Luke adds: Salute no man by the way. The Jewish salutations were very formal, hypocritical, and consumed much time. It is said that it often required from one to three hours to complete these formal salutations. The disciples were not to consume thus their precious time, nor did the Savior wish them to go through with foolish and insincere forms. Peace be to this house. The usual form of blessing when entering a house as a guest. Son of peace. One who is worthy of such a blessing and hospitality receives the messengers of the Lord.
13–15. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! See notes on Matt. 11:21–24. It is thought that this is a repetition of the words used on a former occasion, in order to emphasize the sin of rejecting the messengers of the Lord.
16. He that heareth you, heareth me. See notes on Matt. 10:40, where we have the same solemn and suggestive declaration.
17–20The seventy returned with joy. How long after they were sent forth is unknown. Even the devils are subject unto us in thy name. In accordance with the promise made to the twelve (Matt. 10:8), and probably repeated to the seventy. All was wrought by the power of Christ's name. I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven. Various interpretations of this statement are given, but it is probable that Christ refers to the original fall of Satan (Isa. 14:12; Jude 6). The victory of his disciples over the demons is the harbinger of another fall, when Satan and all his works shall be destroyed. To tread upon serpents and scorpions. Evidently an allusion to the promise that the seed of woman shall bruise the serpent's head (Gen. 3:15). It is a promise of victory over the power of sin, of victory over all the power of the enemy. The connection shows that it is symbolical. Rejoice not in your own power. Judas had this power in Christ's name. But rather rejoice. In the hope of salvation. The greatest of all subjects of rejoicing is that we are the children of God.
21, 22. I thank thee, Father. See Matt. 11:25–27, for notes. The same language is probably uttered here a second time.
23, 24. See notes on Matt. 13:16, 17. A similar occasion calls for the same language here recorded.
25–29. The parable of the Good Samaritan, as well as that of the Prodigal Son and Lazarus and Dives, are given only by Luke. A certain lawyer. One versed in the Jewish law, a theologian, a scribe, and possibly a rabbi. Tempted him. Put him to trial. What shall I do to inherit eternal life? He probably had noted that Jesus was calling sinners to repentance, but he fancied that he belonged to another class, and hence asks, What shall I do? What is written? The Lord calls on the lawyer to state his own understanding of the law. Thou shalt love the Lord. The lawyer answered well and gave the sum of the whole law. See Deut. 6:4, 5 and Lev. 19:18. This do and thou shalt live. He who fulfills the great law of love is born again. There is no inconsistency. We repent and live, believe and live, obey and live, and love and live. For these are all co-related. One cannot exist without the others. We cannot love God unless we believe and repent. “He that loves me will keep my words” (John 14:23). Willing to justify himself. Evidently conscious that he did not keep the law of love. Who is my neighbour? The Lord answers by a parable.
30–37. A certain man. A Jew of Jerusalem. Went down. It was a constant descent from Jerusalem to Jericho, over 3,000 feet in eighteen miles. Fell among robbers. The road is a dark, desolate, mountain pass, dangerous then, so beset by robbers still that no traveler dares go through it without a guard. Which stripped him. Not only of raiment, but of all he had; then left him, stunned, bleeding, unconscious, nearly dead. A certain priest. Jericho was a city of priests. A priest ought to be a holy man. The law commanded mercy and help to a neighbor (Exod. 23:4–5; Deut. 22:1–4). The priest and Levite both disregarded the law in passing the poor sufferer. Likewise a Levite. A temple minister. He probably excused himself by the example of his priest. A certain Samaritan. The hereditary enemy of the Jews; despised and hated by the latter. “The Jews and Samaritans have no dealings” (John 4:9). If any man had excuse for passing the wounded Jew by it was the Samaritan. But he, unlike the priest and Levite, had compassion. His compassion leads to action, to self-denial, and inconvenience. He dresses the man's wounds, sets him on his own beast, carries him to the inn, and when he left, left money for his care. For ancient inns, see note on Luke 2:7. Two pence was two days' wages, and there was promise of more. Which of these three … proved neighbour? The stranger became the neighbor. So we are to be neighbors to all who need help. Christian love must know no narrow bounds of race or sect. Genuine philanthropy is a Christian spirit.
41, 42. Thou art anxious and troubled. Agitated over temporal matters while there are others more important. One thing is needful. Jesus cared nothing for bodily indulgence. The important thing was the bread of life. That, Mary had chosen. Heed the lesson that he who receives most of his word and spirit, is most pleasing in his sight.
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